Muskrat Den in Marsh
The Kentucky Bird List sends emails to subscribers about sightings in this state, and, of course, Indiana has one too, but I don't subscribe to it. Others in the Beckham Bird Club do, however, and at the board meeting they were talking about a Redshank sighted at Goose Pond, IN. "What's that?" I asked, and as birders do, someone pulled out their smart phone to show me a picture. It is a Eurasian sandpiper-like bird with bright orange-red legs and bill. It doesn't belong in mid-America though, and would be considered a very rare bird here. Hmmm, I've heard about Goose Pond, and this might be a good opportunity to explore it and get a rare bird on the same day. Let's do it! Google maps says it's about 2.5 hours from Louisville, on two lane roads most of the way, to Linton, in western Indiana. "Just look for all the cars and follow the birders."
The flat corn fields spread for miles, with natural gas pumps nodding here and there. Suddenly the sun shines off water, as lakes, ponds and shallow pools in the corn fields announcing my arrival at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. The last glaciation flattened most of Indiana, and left a large ice chunk at Goose Pond creating a basin which still retains water due to the clay layer underneath. Farmers fought with the marshiness for years, with limited success. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) purchased the entire 8,000-acre Goose Pond site from a private landowner in 2005. The Goose Pond project is part of several very large Wetland Reserve Projects that NRCS has put together up and down the Wabash River to help re-establish part of the weave of the Mississippi flyway. As a result, Goose Pond is attracting some of the most diverse birds that anyone has ever seen in the state. Listen to these chuckling leopard frogs! I thought they were some kind of strange bird at first.
|Northern Shovelers and Blue Winged Teal Ducks|
I did, however, get some good views of about 500 American Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants...